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Smark Hen-XT (11/11/15): Righteous Anger

This week, we see the fallout from last week’s main event. Also on the plate, a Tag Team Championship match between the Vaudevillains and Dash & Dawson.

Gold is the root of all evil

NXT’s main event scene is a glorious mess of rage and fury, as four of its best and brightest want a piece of each other. And the NXT Championship is right smack in the middle of everything.

To start the show, Apollo Crews returned the favor by jumping Baron Corbin before his match. Gone is the guy just happy to be here. The Crews that showed up was a man robbed of his shot at greatness, and seeing him go apeshit on Corbin was refreshing. His backstage interview was better, delivering an intense promo as he promised to break Corbin the next time he gets his hands on him.

This is the kind of character development we want from Crews. There’s more to him than a guy who smiles a lot and does things that should be physically impossible, and this edge, this righteous fury he showed promises that. This is also a feud that Corbin needs at this point in his career. Putting him in a program against a seasoned performer has shown us that he can deliver a great match, case in point, his match against Samoa Joe. This will help bring along his status as one of the top heels on NXT, giving this the potential to be a great feud.

Speaking of Samoa Joe, he closed the show strong, delivering a great promo. His justification of his attack was simple. He believes he should be the champion. Since day one, he should have been fighting for the title. He believes he’s been denied his opportunity, so he took it upon himself to get his shot. I like his emphasis on the idea of choices and action. Finn Balor chose him as his partner for the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic and he claims he carried the team to their eventual win. Balor could have chosen him as his #1 contender, but he couldn’t carry through that and Joe had to go through the battle royal that he lost. His justifications fit in a whole twisted heel sense. He caps off a great segment by choking out Finn Balor.

By all right, Joe should feel entitled. He’s one of the best wrestlers in the world and he’s a high-profile signing for brand. His recent career renaissance in NXT proved that he should be in the title scene. This sense of entitlement fits him as a heel, simply because he can back it up with great matches. Ironically, his current character reminds me a lot of his first dance partner in NXT, Kevin Owens. This, though, promises a great feud between him and Balor. This isn’t just for the title anymore. It’s personal.

The creative team has done a great job of making the NXT Championship matter again. With the top feuds all revolving around the title, it reinforced the idea that it’s something everyone on the roster should be fighting for, something that’s been lacking in the show since TakeOver: Brooklyn. The honor of being champion should make people do unspeakable things and turn on their friends. Everybody wants to be on top, and they should prove it, even if it means being evil.

The rest of the show:

Bayley and the Hype Bros def. Alexa Bliss and Blake & Murphy

  • This was a fun match. Everyone did their part well. Bliss was your conniving heel even trying to get inside the champ’s head by stealing the belt, Blake & Murphy were great goons doing the dirty work, the Hype Bros were their usual energetic selves, and Bayley was over as fuck.

  • Seeing Bayley nail a Bayley-to-Belly on Murphy was a nice touch. In the WWE setting, we don’t usually see women in intergender matches get involved with their male counterparts outside of the usual trash talking and slapping, and seeing Bayley hit her finisher on a man was a refreshing twist to the typical match.

Nia Jax def. Deonna

  • Yet another squash match putting Nia Jax over. At this point, I’m getting a bit tired of it. I don’t think we’ll see any more from Jax unless she starts facing real competition.

  • It’s interesting, though, that she keeps on smiling after every move. This isn’t like Apollo Crews smiling because he’s happy to be in NXT. This is a sadist enjoying the pain she’s inflicting.

  • My biggest problem with Jax is that I can’t see anyone who can match her in a hoss fight, and I really want to see a women’s hoss fight. Maybe Tamina, but that wouldn’t be much of a fight.

  • I like little backstage segments Jax found herself in. First was between her and Eva Marie. It teases what could be a very helpful partnership for both ladies. Eva can be her terrible self and Jax can play her bodyguard. The second one, where Bayley ran into her and she got a good look at the tile, was fine as well. It plants the idea of her getting in the title picture sooner rather than later.

Dash & Dawson def. the Vaudevillains to win the NXT Tag Team Championship

  • Another nice match tonight. I’m loving the spotlight face-off we’re getting for the past two title matches. 

  • There was nothing wrong with what was happening in the ring. Everyone was hitting their moves crisply. The challengers were showing nice heel psychology, targeting English’s left leg and distracting the ref.

  • My biggest problem is that I wasn’t invested in the match. With barely any build up, I couldn’t get hyped for this fight. Dash & Dawson, as good as they are, isn’t the team I want to see with the belt and the Vaudevillains, as much as they deserved to win the belt back in Brooklyn, just didn’t get any momentum as champions. They got pushed aside in the DRTTC and had barely anything going for them before last week.

NXT bounced back from a mediocre show with a solid show. Yes, the non-match segments were definitely better than the matches, but don’t sleep on the 6-person tag match and the Tag Team Championship bout. This episode gets a B.

Excited for the main event scene? Hit us up and drop us a comment!

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Jocs Boncodin (@caboncodin) is a Managing Editor of Smark Henry. He answers tweets by day and watches wrestling by night. An aspiring writer, Jocs spends most of his idle time fantasy booking angles and overthinking wrestling storylines. A big fan of the WWE, his introduction to the local online wrestling community Smark Gilas-Pilipinas has opened his eyes to the wonders of puroresu and lucha libre. He currently handles Smark Hen-XT,'s weekly NXT review.

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